Scotland's national action plan to prevent and eradicate FGM

The national action plan to prevent and eradicate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) sets out the objectives, actions and responsibilities required to drive and deliver change.

Section 2 Where we are now

Along with its partners in the statutory and third sectors the Scottish Government is taking forward a range of work in terms of preventing FGM, working with practising communities, strengthening the criminal justice response, and ensuring access to appropriate services and support for survivors of FGM.

Scottish Government investment

The Scottish Government is investing £11.8 million from the Scottish Government Equality Budget (total £20.3 million) in 2015-16 on a range of projects and services to help tackle and raise awareness of violence against women and girls and to support those who have experienced abuse.

This includes investment in a range of interventions aimed at preventing FGM, working collaboratively alongside partners in the statutory and third sectors and potentially affected communities.

Community-focused engagement initiatives

Scottish Government is working with community based and third sector organisations to take forward a range of initiatives focusing on awareness raising and engagement.

Awareness raising, guidance and training

A range of communications have been issued by the Scottish Government to stakeholders including Education, Police and NHS. These have included:

  • a letter to all head teachers in Scotland reminding them of the procedures to be followed and guidance available in relation to FGM;
  • a letter [21] to all health care professionals (in Scotland) to help recognition of FGM and to encourage healthcare to record the diagnosis and types of FGM, together with any corrective procedures, in the relevant clinical records;
  • a letter [22] sent to all healthcare professionals to inform health professionals (in Scotland) of the additional resources available to support the delivery of services to people who have had FGM or at risk of FGM. It also provides a reminder to be alert to young girls being taken out of Scotland to have FGM performed.

The Scottish Government funds third sector organisations to develop and disseminate and to support training and public education on FGM. [23] For example Womens Support Project [24] provides a range of resources and information in relation to FGM on their website, including a statement opposing FGM.

Education Scotland [25] working with partners and Education Authority staff has produced a short supported PowerPoint presentation, which authorities and head teachers can use to raise awareness of FGM in schools and early years settings. The resource has been developed to increase the knowledge and understanding of staff to enable them to better safeguard children from the abuses associated with FGM.

The National Guidance for Child Protection [26] , which is used by all children's services such as education, was updated and published by the Scottish Government in May 2014. Within that guidance is a specific section providing advice on how to respond if there are concerns that a child may have been subject to, or may be at risk from, FGM.

  • It provides a national framework within which agencies and practitioners at local level - individually and jointly - can understand and agree processes for working together to support, promote and safeguard the wellbeing of all children. It sets out expectations for strategic planning of services to protect children and young people and highlights key responsibilities for services and organisations, both individual and shared.
  • It also serves as a resource for practitioners on specific areas of practice and key issues in child protection.

Police Scotland has produced Honour Based Violence ( HBV), Forced Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation Standard Operating Procedures which provides officers with the necessary understanding and skills to deal appropriately and consistently with HBV incidents.

National multi-agency guidance

A National Group was convened by the Scottish Government to deliver Multi-agency Good Practice Guidance for addressing FGM issues in Scotland.

Guidance will support frontline staff and their organisations to address Female Genital Mutilation ( FGM) in Scotland. It will provide advice on good practice for individual practitioners and agencies within the statutory and third sectors to identify and respond to FGM. It will also propose a multi-agency response to support collaborative working between statutory and non-statutory agencies and the affected communities, to meet the often complex needs of women and girls affected by FGM. Publication of the guidance is expected around March 2016. It is expected that agencies and organisations will use the guidance to develop local protocols.

Research - Scottish Refugee Council Report ( SRC)

The Scottish Government provided funding to the Scottish Refugee Council to support a project that delivered a report (published 17 December 2014) entitled Tackling Female Genital Mutilation in Scotland: a Scottish Model of Intervention [27] , providing research-based information to help inform our approach with community and statutory partners to tackling FGM in Scotland.

This scoping study was carried out by Scottish Refugee Council with the support of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and identifies populations potentially affected by Female Genital Mutilation in Scotland and explores interventions across the European Union ( EU) in the areas of participation, prevention, protection and the provision of services, presenting a baseline of Scotland-specific data and recommendations for the development of a Scottish model of intervention.

The SRC baseline report highlights the lack of accurate data on the prevalence of FGM and recommends a more consistent approach to recording of FGM in its different forms across health, child protection and other frontline services, along with a range of other recommendations.

Legislation in England and Wales

As well as existing legislation, the UK Government has included five legislative provisions in relation to FGM in the Serious Crime Act 2015. These provisions (as set out below) are for England and Wales and will not extend to Scotland.

  • New legislation to grant victims of FGM lifelong anonymity from the time an allegation is made, to be achieved by amending the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (the 2003 Act (England and Wales)) to prohibit the publication of any information that might lead to the identification of a person against whom an FGM offence is alleged to have been committed.
  • New legislation that will mean parents can be prosecuted if they fail to prevent their daughter being cut, achieved by inserting a new section in the 2003 Act which will mean that if an offence of FGM is committed against a girl under the age of 16, each person who is responsible for the girl at the time FGM occurred will be liable.
  • To provide for FGM protection orders for the purposes of protecting a girl against the commission of a genital mutilation offence or protecting a girl against whom such an offence has been committed.
  • A mandatory duty for doctors, teachers and others to report cases of FGM to the police if they believe they have seen that FGM has occurred.
  • Placing the existing FGM guidance for professionals on a statutory basis.

Scottish Government continues to liaise with UK Government to ensure efficacy of existing legislation and monitor the impact and any unintended consequences of the new legislation in other parts of the UK. Working with relevant stakeholders we continue to engage with potentially affected communities and other relevant stakeholders to consider the impact of any further legislation.


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